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Black Lives Matter rally ruled prohibited public assembly

Organisers will be appealing the decision.

Photograph: Tom Williams.

The NSW Supreme Court has ruled Sydney’s next Black Lives Matter rally a prohibited public assembly. It is expected that organisers will discuss a relocation to the Domain and will challenge the decision in the Court of Appeals. 

The rally, originally scheduled for this Tuesday at Town Hall, has nearly 1500 people going with a further 3,500 interested in the Facebook event. Organisers spoke at a press conference following the decision. 

Aunty Rhonda Dixon-Grovenor, a Darug/Yain elder spoke first. 

“Our sovereignty was never ceded. For over 200 years the Gadigal and Bidjigal people and the 29 clans of the Sydney basin have been suffering with victimization and brutality, the racism that has been inflicted on Aboriginal people all over Australia.”

“There have been over 430 Aboriginal people that have died in custody and not one police man has been convicted.”

Since 1991 there have been 438 Indigenous deaths in custody, including the murder of David Dungay Jr, whose family lead a 50,000 strong rally in June.

Padraic Gibson from the UTS Jumbunna Institute seconded her. 

“It is the authority of people like Aunty Rhonda, that is the authority we are following at this time.”

“We will not be stopping this movement and we will not be stopping the protests that are happening on the street in response to the ongoing brutality against Aboriginal people, and in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement around the world.”

“Racism cannot be defeated by isolating in your house.”

“On Monday he [Mick Fuller] stood up and perpetrated a blatant mistruth by saying that the reason we have a renewed coronavirus outbreak in Melbourne is because of the Black Lives Matter protests.”

“His own lawyers in court didn’t even try to defend what he said. They admitted that there was no evidence of transmission of coronavirus at any Black Lives Matter rally.”

According to an RMIT report, there is no evidence Black Lives Matter protests in Melbourne contributed to a spike in cases. There have been no cases of community transmission from any of the rallies in Sydney to date. 

When asked about COVID-19 safety, Gibson said, “We have COVID safety teams that include people have a lot of experience negotiating health and safety in workplaces through their unions”  

He also referenced the recent statement published by the Dungay family. 

“They cannot stop and will not stop. Regardless of the court outcome today, the rally will be going ahead. That’s the message that I’ve got from the family consistently.” 

The press conference ended with a statement from Raul Bassi, an organiser within the Indigenous Social Justice Association. 

“We will keep doing as much as we can. No one will stop us.” 

The rally is currently expected to occur in the Domain from 12-2 on the 28th of July, pending a decision in the Court of Appeals. The last BLM protest was successfully overturned and organisers are hoping for a similar outcome for the coming rally.